Promoting Writing through Technology during Study Abroad

By Ruie J. Pritchard, Kevin M. Oliver and Donna Morrow.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

In summer 2011, college of education faculty in the United States and New Zealand partnered to offer an innovative study abroad course at the University of Surrey, England, titled “Writing and Technology.” Twenty-two kindergarten through college teachers, across content areas, engaged in online and face-to-face activities before the two weeks in England, and while in England, they went on excursions to literary and historical sites and captured these experiences in multi-modal forms using writing and digital tools. They wrote in three major modes (i.e., expressive, expository, and poetic), based on the discourse scheme of James Moffett (1968, 1992), and employed numerous Web-based tools to elaborate and present their written work (e.g., Google Docs and Google Maps, Tabblo, Prezi, Animoto, Nota, Glogster, ToonDoo, Voicethread, etc.). Data collected before, during, and after the course determined participants’ global perspectives, attitudes and confidence as writers, and competence in using digital tools to transform their writing into multimedia products. Findings indicate overall success in their ability to reflect on their international experiences through writing and multimedia projects. Further, the majority realized that writing across modes using traditional text forms, and re-purposing multimedia tools to expand written texts, had reciprocal impact. As noted by Stein (2008), “in shifts across modes, the meanings of entities change and are transformed” (p. 874). In tandem, writing and technology afforded participants a broad and full appreciation of the rich culture in which they were immersed. We highly recommend that study abroad courses incorporate both substantial writing and technology, to exploit the capabilities of each to enhance the content and to make meaning of the experience of living and learning in another culture.

Keywords: Writing, Technology, Study Abroad, Culture

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.201-214. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 394.523KB).

Dr. Ruie J. Pritchard

Professor, Curriculum, Instruction, and Counselor Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA

Dr. Ruie Pritchard was a middle school, high school and college teacher in Missouri and New Orleans before coming to North Carolina State University in the United States. She received her Ph.D. from University of Missouri, Columbia. Currently, she is a professor of curriculum and instruction, with emphasis on English education. She served as Interim Associate Dean of Academic Programs in the College of Education, 2003–2005. Since 2005, she has been Director of Graduate Programs for the Dept. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Counselor Education. From 1983–2010, she directed the Capital Area Writing Project, an award winning National Writing Project site that offers fellowships to K–12 teachers to enhance their abilities as writers and teachers of writing. In 2002 she received the Alumni Distinguished Award for Extension and Engagement, one of three on the NC State campus. As a senior researcher on a Fulbright Award with the New Zealand Ministry of Education, she held writing projects for teachers throughout the nation. Her research area is the professional development of teachers, writing and technology, and school district organization that enables teachers to grow. In summer 2011, she taught a study abroad course in England for North Carolina K–12 teachers who were supported by a grant.

Dr. Kevin M. Oliver

Associate Professor, Curriculum, Instruction, and Counselor Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA

Dr. Kevin Oliver is a program coordinator and associate professor of instructional technology at North Carolina State University in the United States, where he teaches graduate courses on technology integration, multimedia, videography, and instructional design. His primary research interests include Web-based learning environments, distance education/virtual schooling, and digital history. He earned a Ph.D. in instructional technology from the University of Georgia, and a M.Ed. in educational media and instructional design from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education and as a consulting editor for Educational Technology Research and Development.

Dr. Donna Morrow

Senior Lecturer, School of Literacies and Arts in Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

At the time of this study, Dr. Donna Morrow was a senior lecturer in the College of Education at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand where her teaching focused on the integration of digital tools and strategies to support teaching and learning across the curriculum. Her research interests center on the use of information and communication technologies to support learning, with a particular focus on the use of the online environment for delivery of professional development. Her research in the area of online learning has examined learner-centric interactivity, the impact of the textual environment on learners and the contributions of local learning communities as support in online environments. She has extensive experience in the design and delivery of online courses. Other areas of interest and research include the use of education technologies in the early childhood sector, the connection between information and communication technologies and the writing process, and blended learning. She was been technology liaison for the Capital Area Writing Project at North Carolina State University from 2007–2010. In 2012, Dr. Morrow moved to North Carolina to take a position as Instructional Technology Specialist for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.